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Dog Lady

First Kill

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We just had such a great walk at the weekend, dogs chasing frisbees that the kids were throwing, Sophie (2yr BC) keep jumping in the water to cool off, and then Lucy (16yr GS) slips in the water, she has a good swim and I have to roll up my capris to get her out!

Feet away from the car when sophie has a last run after a squirrel, oh no!!! No more running for that squirrel. The younger boys didn't see it, just the older two who are sworn to silence about it. But what now? I always wondered what she would do if she ever did catch up with one, what now? Is she now a "killer" dog? Do I have to keep her on the leash all the time from now on?

I'm very concerned. :confused:

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One of my family's goldens likes to "retrieve" squirrels, unfortunatly she's a bit too rough and bits down too hard when it comes to picking up the squirrel :rolleyes: (she's not a well bred golden, she even looks pretty mutty).

 

She gets one or two a year so we leave her too it (if you've seen the squirrel population in Toronto...), she's pretty nuts about going after them, will even just up trees to grab them, but we still have her as an off-leash dog.

 

It really depends on your dog's personality, if she's going to obsess about every little squirrel or just run after them from time to time :

 

GL!

Nes.

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Squirrels are just rats with furry tails in my thinking. They do a huge amount of damage to our orchard. I would never set a dog on one on purpose nor would I encourage it as I don't want them to chase animals. However, I don't think I'd get too upset if they got happened to get a hold of one.

 

My little Laura girl has caught rats and has caught birds out of the air, but she hasn't been able to get any of the squirrels.

 

When I was a teenager we had a Lab that would go out on his own on our property and come back with baby jackrabbits in his mouth. They were never hurt - just slobbery. He would not take the baby bunnies to my dad, he would only bring them to me. We ended up raising two or three baby jackrabbits each year. One time he brought back a half grown one carrying by the scruff of the neck. He was so disappointed when we made him let that one go.

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Poppy used to call squirrels "Tree Rats". His labs got the squirrels, and posseums. But they were obsessed just cleaning the yard of unwanted guests. Libby killed a posseum just last summer. It was getting into her food and that was a NO NO. Libby whines to get baby or other small animals to come to her( kittens, puppies,and rabbits).

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IMO, it isn't the end of the world. If a dog killed another dog - well, that would be a BIG problem, but killing a little wild rodent isn't as bad.

 

Maybe a bit of training so the dog doesn't try to chase the squirrels as much or at all even. It doesn't mean that Sophie needs to be on a leash all the time. Just make sure you have a good recall, and she stays under control. Even if she killed couple a year the thing you should be more worried about is that she has all of her vaccs so she stays healthy. It isn't "good" that your dog killed the squirrel, but it doesn't make your dog a "killer" or a very agressive dog either. No need to go out and buy a muzzle or anything.

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Meg has never gotten a squirrel, but it's not for lack of trying. She doesn't go crazy, she just freezes and stalks very slowly until she is close enough to try to pounce. I't a hoot to watch.

 

She has, however, gotten four mice. She smells them in their nests in the ground and digs like crazy, ripping away roots with her teeth.

 

The heat has curtailed her mouse hunts, however. Either they are not around or it's too hot for her to bother. She still tries for squirrels when she sees them.

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Granted, Ferg has never caught a squirrel anywhere - not even the Puppet named "sqrll" by my bed (a family thing). But she makes sure the evil grey terrorists get no persimmons, tomatoes, blueberries, or any other backyard produce. Or any birdseed.

 

But I have taught her not to chase squirrels in the neighborhood. I walk her off leash up here. And, when she sees a grey terrorists, I can tell her that it's Annie's, or Bailey's, or Pepper's - or just "not your squirrel". And she leaves it alone. Of course, I can also say,Squirrel!" and have her look back at me me. The I say, "Go get him!" And she trees it.

 

Hey, this is the dog who made friends with the sheep at the BC picnic. But she knows who she can chase when.

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Mine came very close to catching a baby bunny. As much as I was cheering when the chase started, once he got dangerously close to nailing the lil' fur ball, I started screaming at him to stop and leave the poor soul alone!

And he knows one day, he will get a squirrel. He sure tries every day (on a leash). Once he figured out that squirrels live in trees, automaticaly he expects that each tree has its own squirrel, so he stops by (almost) every tree and looks up, hoping that today's the day

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Thank you for your replies. Sophie is such a cutey, she just loves chasing the squirrels. As soon as the car door is opened, and she is told she can get out, then she is off to the nearest tree. She is getting well trained on some things, although still not at walking to heel!

Had her photo taken today along with Lucy and my sons and their nephew, I'll share it when it is picked up.

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Just had a thought, can ask the vet if you should you get the squirrel body and have it tested for rabies?

 

It probably is moot. It's not unusual for a dog to be able to catch a squirrel, so the catching wouldn't mean there was something wrong with the squirrel. And our dogs are all vaccinated anyhow. But we get nervous around these parts.

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"Dem dare squirrels are dang good eatin!"
...particularly when cooked in a nice white wine sauce with green olives...

 

And I had to laugh; I found out in this thread that I am not the only person who refers to squirrels as "tree rats". My wife, however, feeds them peanuts, so I am not allowed to catch and cook them...

 

Missy will try to kill a squirrel, but is not fast enough to catch them. Annie, on the other hand, is fast enough, but tries to play with them and is so mellow that Clyde Kadiddlehopper (our resident moocher) doesn't even run any more when she comes out the front door.

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Originally posted by Anda:

Once he figured out that squirrels live in trees, automaticaly he expects that each tree has its own squirrel, so he stops by (almost) every tree and looks up, hoping that today's the day

LOL, I think we have the same dog. I have to walk several feet away from any trees or Zorra will think she's a cat and try to claw her way up the tree looking for the pesky critters .

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Originally posted by zorra's Pappy:

quote:
Originally posted by Anda:

Once he figured out that squirrels live in trees, automaticaly he expects that each tree has its own squirrel, so he stops by (almost) every tree and looks up, hoping that today's the day

LOL, I think we have the same dog. I have to walk several feet away from any trees or Zorra will think she's a cat and try to claw her way up the tree looking for the pesky critters . at night is common to see big rats in the park that run to the trees once they see the dog. Chemukh use to search every tree in search of rats too, the difference is that if she see a rat, she will actually climb the tree.

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My dog went with me on a ski tour one time. There were moles under the snow, and she started digging for them and eating them. She probably got three of them. The next day she had a really nasty cough and sore throat. I took her to the vet, who gave her an antibiotic. So the mole eating cost me $110. That was the LAST TIME she got to do that!

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Maggie is a good little hunter - last winter she caught and killed a full grown rabbit! She loves hunting squirrels as well, tho she has yet to catch one, she's gotten awfully close many times. Yesterday she practically climbed a tree after one and at the peak of her jump had her back feet about 4.5 feet off the ground!!!

 

As for killing spreading to animals other than 'tree rats' - I leash Maggie around small fluffy dogs just in case, but one of her best buds is a mini dachshund and another is a westie and she is a therapy dog w/ kids at the library as well.

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My guys love to go mousing in the chicken coop after dark (and they do a better job than the cats do!) I'm not crazy about the idea of them eating the mice (and any accompanying parasites), but on the other hand, they do help to keep the critters in check.

 

Mine are fine with the other animals even though they kill mice. They chase the cats when they can but don't hurt them, and they love to visit with the bunnies. Luckily the bunnies are smart and if they come out of their hutches into the back yard when I'm caring for them, they sit still when the dogs are around them so the dogs just sniff at them and don't do anything else. Even my daughter's hamster is safe with the dogs, though they're not ever together unattended. I can hold him in my hand and let the dogs sniff without any problem, and when his cage is being cleaned he gets put into the bathtub and I can let the dogs look in at him (again, never unattended, just in case). They seem to get the idea that they're not allowed to hurt our animals, but that mice are fair game.

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My two haven't done that...yet.

 

But I had a cocker/terrier/lab mix for almost 11 yrs that did that. Mice especially and chipmunks, and squirrels. Yet she never messed with any of the ones that I rescued. If they were in the house she knew that they were off limits!

 

At first when she started doing it, I felt terrible but then realized it is naturally bred into them. What can you do? People bred them to do this.

 

Plus, it's nature I guess. Besides she kept the mice from taking over our house when we lived in Nebraska by doing that..

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I'm impressed your dog caught a squirrel Kirby in his lifetime managed to kill woodchuck, possum, racoon, I'm never sure about the skunks but, he sure smelled.

 

Kirby tried his whole lifetime to get those squirrels that teased him in our garbage. They would have the nerve to come up to the porch if he was in the house like they were waiting for the chase.

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Dog Lady,

Your dog can be taught to leave all little critters alone. Frankly, this is what I would do. It's a bit much to expect your dog to distinguish between the squirrel in your back yard and the neighbor's fuzzy kitten out in his yard. My neighbor just lost nearly 100 chickens to another neighbor's marauding dogs. They started with the occasional chicken here or there, and then finally went on a rampage, tearing into the house where the chickens were kept at night and killing most of them. (I suspect it was a dog that tore apart the angora rabbit's cage and killed it too earlier this year-- raccoon certainly wouldn't have left the damage to the sturdy cage). I just don't think it's worth letting a behavior start (or continue) if it could escalate to something undesirable.

 

Besides that aspect, Hector brings up a good point. How will your dog distinguish between the squirrel that is okay to chase and kill and the rabid raccoon that comes wandering through your yard? Witness the armadillo killing thread and the fears that poster had to deal with regarding diseases the armadillo could have passed on to her dog. Whether you like squirrels or not, I just don't think encouraging your dog to kill small furry critters is a good idea in general.

 

Anyway, I don't think you need to keep her on a leash forever, but I think some lessons on NOT CHASING small critters are certainly in order. Or if you want your dog to have the enjoyment of chasing said small critters, then be prepared for some deaths to happen.

 

 

Just my opinion of course.

 

J.

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My GSD got a chipmunk once, and the "pack" managed to kill a rabbit once and a squirrel once as well. (It was awful! Sasha did most of the chasing and killing...and we were out of town and our housesitter called and said that he'd been chasing her around the backyard to try to get the squirrel's dismembered head away from her...) He's never let us forget that. We do discourage it, and it's why I always make noise just before I let them out in the morning, just in case there's a stray cat within our fence.

 

When we run, as long as I see the cat first and command "leave it," or "not your cat" they are fine. They have two cats who boss them around at home and they all know who's really in charge.

 

Now, they do get a lizard about once a week between the three of them. There are little anoles everywhere here, and the squirrels are mighty scrawny. We do try to stop it, but the lizards really are everywhere.

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Bustopher, I can't help it! I gotta tell ya! Please rename squirrel! It is Clem Kadiddlehopper! Jeeze, I'm sorry but it was driving me nuts! Hmmmm, well, I guess I should say crazy!

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My old Cap dog would always come when called.

One night I let him out to do his "business" and he didn't come when called. I got a flashlight and shone it into the back yard. There lay my dog,

his throat and chest scarlet with blood. I swear I leaped from the porch 50 feet across the yard!

When I got to him I saw the half eaten rabbit between his paws. Of course he got a tapeworm and the vet said it probably came from swallowing a flea on the rabbit. Who knows what other diseases they can pick up from wild creatures. Try to discourage it if you can.

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